Mounting the Insurmountable

J. Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, said these words: "There are three stages in any great work attempted for God: impossible, difficult, done."

What do you do when you face those insurmountable situations of your life? -- When it seems that there is no possible solution to the problem--What do you do? Do you ACT or react?  Do you allow the circumstance to dictate your reaction? Or do you act upon the confidence of God's Word?

In the passage above, we see Elijah facing perhaps the greatest test of all, seemingly impossible. What do you do when the son of your hostess dies and you and God are blamed?

Elijah's response is very interesting and certainly worthy of note because all of us, at  some point, face an impossible situation and it is through Elijah's experience that we learn how to act... not react to the seemingly insurmountable.

Elijah is a guest in the home of a widow and this widow's son becomes sick and dies. In ancient times sickness was regarded as a visitation of God to make one aware of one's sin. This woman, who had a guilty conscience, concluded that God was punishing her for her sin. Perhaps she felt that she had been "found out" by this prophet. The idea is probably "that you have brought my sin to God's notice and caused my son to die." The heat is being turned up on Elijah.

The hostess said, "What have I to do with you?" In others words, "What have I done? Why do you do this to me, O man of God?" This phrase is a Hebrew idiom used to express emphatic denial or difference of opinion.

"Man of God" was a phrase often used to speak of a divine messenger. However, here it seems to be used in a derogatory way.  His hostess, the widow, is the owner of the home. Now he is on the "outs" as we would say.  Anyone would know the "writing is on the wall." So I am sure the pressure was great to push the panic button.

Surprisingly, his response was counterintuitive.  Why was he able to do that? The answer is found in the three things Elijah did, in the face of the insurmountable.

First, he rested in the Lord.  Clearly, he was relying upon the Lord and His promises to take away those potential feelings of anxiety.  Knowing God was sovereign and good, he depended upon God to compose him and to calm him.

Secondly, he got alone with God. He took the body of the dead boy to his guest room and prayed over the boy.  Elijah took him to a place where God and he had met many times before... and he prayed. He had been on his knees many times before in that room.  When we are overwhelmed by the insurmountable, we need to get to the place where we can do business with God...on our knees.

Thirdly, Elijah trusted God to deliver. In verse 21 he prayed with great confidence, asking God to give life back to this young man.  Elijah believed that God was going to come through in the pinch, not necessarily deliver him out of the situation but through the situation.  In this case, it meant that Elijah would have to believe God for the impossible.

Was Elijah human? Did he express some very human questions to God? Yes, but once he did, he went directly to God believing God would come through. It is significant to remember that up to this point, there has been no recorded account of God raising one from the dead.  This is the first account recorded in Scripture of anyone being raised from the dead.

Elijah was believing God to do that which He had never done before.  The essence of what he said was, "God, I'm asking you for a miracle. I am asking you for the impossible." God often allows the insurmountable in our lives because He wants to teach us faith and dependence upon Him.  Doing the impossible is no big deal to God.

"In the deepest trials, true faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible." -Dr. Joe Aldrich

"Faith has nothing to do with probabilities.  The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail." -George Mueller

What are the impossible situations you are facing today? I have good news for you: You don't have to panic! You don't have to give up! You don't have to close your eyes to ignore the problem and pretend that it does not exist! The next time you face the insurmountable the size of Mt. Everett, follow Elijah's road map to faith and victory.  God loves it when we believe Him for the impossible.